River cruise lines forging ahead with Christmas market voyages

Christmas celebrations may end up being rather different this year, with the potential of tough restrictions on how many can gather, and where we can travel, but river cruise fans can still get into the festive spirit amid Covid-19.

For while the situation with ocean cruising remains largely uncertain – the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opted to extend its ‘no sail’ order through October 31 while Canada, the Cayman Islands, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and the Seychelles all have cruise bans in place until the end of the year – river cruise lines have been quietly making their comeback.

German river cruise company, A-Rosa, successfully resumed cruises on the Douro, the Danube, the Rhine and the Rhone over the summer, as did Amadeus and Strasbourg-based CroisiEurope. And all three outfits are offering Christmas markets cruises to British passengers – even with quarantine requirements on the arrival

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Nile cruises sail again, forced to navigate river full of challenges

Oct 14, 2020

The cruise ship Amwaj (Wave) set sail Oct. 1 from Luxor to Aswan with a group of American, Swiss and British tourists on the very first trip on the Nile River since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the shutdown of the tourism sector. The floating hotel was the first to obtain the required license from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to get back on track, following the announcement that cruises would be allowed to resume work bearing restrictions this month.

“For us, resuming the cruises for tourists has been like giving the kiss of life to a dying person,” Mohamed Rabie, manager of Amwaj, told Al-Monitor. “We are very honored to be the first cruise ship on the Nile to start operating. We do not have many guests on board yet, but for next week the numbers are increasing.” 

Rabie said eight passengers and

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Mystic Cruises buys Vasco da Gama, first CMV ship to be auctioned

Portugal-based Mystic Cruises is the buyer of Vasco da Gama, the first of five vessels operated by insolvent Cruise & Maritime Voyages that are being auctioned this month.

The 630-cabin Vasco da Gama was auctioned by CW Kellock & Co on October 9. The sale price has not been disclosed.

Mário Ferreira, chairman of Mystic Invest, parent company of Mystic Cruises — and Seatrade Cruise Personality of the Year 2020 — called the acquisition an ‘opportunity to grow the company’s fleet and to better position it for the expected uptake of the market after the COVID-19 pandemic.’

Smaller ship focus

He said, ‘Our focus is on smaller cruise ships, under 1,000 passengers, to create a more personalized, safe and intimate cruise experience for our guests,’ adding, ‘We believe that this segment of the market is better placed to answer to what cruisers will expect in the near future.’

Currently docked

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Plan ahead with these seasonal cruise getaways

Travel restrictions across the globe and constant changes to the UK’s safe travel list have quashed most people’s hopes of a 2020 Christmas cruise … but it’s a great time to pre-plan for 2021.

There are multiple festive holiday cruises to consider, but here are top picks recommended by Iglu Cruise and Planet Cruise.

Christmas Markets of Europe, Emerald Waterways, departs December 1, 2021

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This 14-night cruise through Europe begins with an overnight stay in Budapest and a day exploring the ancient Castle district. Then guests set sail for Bratislava, to browse and buy handcrafted festive ornaments and warm up with traditional Slovakian spiced wine.

In Vienna there is an exclusive tour of Ringstrasse, dotted with decorations and markets bursting with baked goods and hot chocolate. Then it’s on to the quaint German town of Rudesheim,

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Cunard outlines cruise protocols | Telegraph Travel

British cruise line Cunard has outlined the coronavirus health and safety protocols that will be in place when its ships return to sailing.

Measures include taking a Covid-19 test prior to the voyage, revamped dining experiences and tighter restrictions for onshore excursions. The operator will be “significantly reducing” the number of passengers onboard during the first itineraries when it returns.

The Southampton-based line has paused all operations until March 2021. It hasn’t carried any passengers for seven months, when the global cruise industry was halted as coronavirus spread across the world.

In a statement, Cunard said that the protocols are “designed to keep [passengers], our crew, and the communities we visit healthy and well, whilst ensuring you’ll still be able to enjoy the voyage of your dreams.”

Every passenger must test negative for Covid-19 either at the cruise terminal or “in the period before travelling”, or both. If the

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Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line Might Not Sail Until 2021

Carnival (NYSE:CCL)(NYSE:CUK) tried to dip its feet into the chilly November waters, but it’s now joining its smaller rivals in hoping for a December relaunch. Things could get worse. If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reportedly has its way, we may have to wait until at least February to get the out-of-favor cruising industry back in business. 

The moment the CDC extended its No Sail Order until the end of October, we saw Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NASDAQ:NCLH) cancel all U.S.-originating sailings until early December. With the CDC extending the order a few times now — and often near the end of the travel ban — they didn’t want to be caught with displaced passengers scrambling at the port for nixed voyages. Carnival initially decided on a clever gamble. It would move most of its future cruises until at least December, but

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Troubled waters prevent the UK’s largest cruise ship fit for 5,200 passengers from setting sail

The largest cruise ship yet built for the UK market has been delivered and is big enough to carry 5,200 passengers.

Named Iona, the ship weighs in at 182,000 tons and measures 1,132ft (345m) long, with 17 passenger decks. With construction costing several hundred million pounds, features include a gin distillery and a glass dome roof above a dining and entertainment venue.

It was due to launch in May but was delayed because of Covid-19, and passengers will have to wait even longer to board Iona – the first British liner powered by liquefied natural gas – as the owner P&O Cruises has suspended its operations until early next year.

Positive signs

With construction costing several hundred million pounds, features include a gin distillery and a glass dome roof (Photo: P&O/PA Wire)

Speaking at a handover ceremony at the Meyer Werft shipyard in

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P&O takes delivery of its biggest ever cruise ship as long as four football pitches with 17 decks and gin distillery

P&O Cruises has taken delivery its biggest ever cruise ship with 17 decks and its own gin distillery – the world’s first at sea.

Iona weighs 185,000 tonnes and is the length of four football pitches with a capacity to take 5,200 holidaymakers, when they’re finally allowed on board.

Iona is P&O's biggest ship

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Iona is P&O’s biggest shipCredit: Michael Wessels Meyer Werft
The ship features a huge sky dome

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The ship features a huge sky domeCredit: P&O
Iona was built at a shipyard in Germany

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Iona was built at a shipyard in Germany Credit: Michael Wessels Meyer Werft

The behemoth was due launch in May but that was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Passengers will have to wait even longer to experience Iona, as P&O Cruises has suspended its operations until early next year because of travel restrictions.

Iona’s maiden season will see her cruise to northern Europe, Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands from our home port of Southampton.

As well as

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P&O Cruises welcomes new cruise ship in British ‘first’ ahead of holidays 2021 | Travel News | Travel

P&O Cruises now has a new cruise ship to add to its fleet. The Iona joined last week at an official handover ceremony with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany, in the latest cruise news. She is the largest cruise ship ever built for the UK market.

The area is a tranquil pool environment by day with dining and entertainment by night.

Here, guests can expect specially commissioned aerial entertainment shows under the stars when the Iona sets sail.

Holidaymakers will also be able to enjoy craft individual gins at the first-ever gin distillery at sea or unwind in the Oasis spa featuring a range of destination-themed treatments.

Iona will have eight speciality restaurants including yet-to-be-unveiled concepts.

DON’T MISS

There will also be 13 entertainment venues, four swimming pools – including a spectacular infinity pool at the aft of the ship – and 16 whirlpools.

P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow,

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Learn more from executives with MSC Cruises and Cruise Planners on a special TPG Talks webinar



a large ship in a body of water


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The cruise industry was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and it continues to impact lines all over the world. Many major cruise lines have extended cancellations through November, and there’s still a lot of uncertainty of when most ships will begin sailing again. And once they do, there will likely be notable changes in light of COVID-19.

Thankfully, there is some good news for cruisers, as limited sailings have restarted in Europe.

And this week, you have a chance to hear directly from two major executives in the cruise industry on this initial comeback of cruising.

Join TPG’s Cruise Reporter Gene Sloan as he sits down with Ken Muskat, the executive vice president

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